Wednesday, March 30, 2011


It's been awhile since I had to write a letter to my bike. But apparently it's time to do it again. So here we go...

Dear Sportster:

You're so saucy and cute. You lanesplit like a champ. You're nimble and get great gas mileage. You don't have a lot of icky chrome on you to distract from your awesomeness. I love taking you to work.

So why do you keep crapping out on me?

You can't blame me for not riding you quite as often as I's been raining, for fuck's sake. A LOT. But c'mon, I took you out over the Softail on more than one occasion to show you off when the skies were clear. And with the new job I just started this week, you get to go to Borebank often.

But you apparently like to hold grudges.

What was it about yesterday that pissed you off so much? Was it the fact that I had to take the freeway the entire way to work? It couldn't have been the weather, it was sunny and cool but not cold. Borebank isn't so usually like the parking space that's right in front of the studio, where EVERYONE can see you, so it can't be that. I even took surface streets for part of the way home instead of taking the crapacious 101 freeway, and we cut through a shit ton of traffic. Yay, us!

When you died at the intersection of Laurel Canyon and Riverside, I was shocked. And pissed. Luckily there was a Mobil station right across the intersection from where you staged your protest, and after waiting in the middle of the westbound lanes on Riverside for an extremely harrowing streetlight cycle, I pushed you to the gas station. I had just filled the gas tank, so that's not the problem. The lights work, the battery is new, and you'd turn over but wouldn't catch. WTF?!?!?!

I let you rest for a minute, and tried starting you again. You refused.

A guy who may or may not have been a rider asked me if I was alright, but didn't have any tools. But he was very nice and said that if I needed anything, to go to the bar next to the gas station.

I should've gone and had a drink or five.

Instead, I called AAA.  Twenty minutes, they say. Fine, no problem, I say.

During the initial twenty minutes I tried a few more times to start you up. Same thing: lights, turning over, but you wouldn't catch. DAMMIT.

Twenty minutes later I get another call from AAA. They now say it'll be an HOUR AND A HALF before I get rescued.

I hope you felt proud of yourself when I did what any roller derby-playin', murdersickle-ridin' grown woman would do in that situation...I burst into tears.

It's not that the intersection of Laurel Canyon and Riverside is a shithole neighborhood, but there were definitely a few shady characters lurking about. What is it about gas stations that brings out the shady lurkers, anyway?! I notice one particular creepy weird dude wander by the bus stop on the opposite side of the gas station, talking to himself as I dropped to the curb and sobbed to myself. Then he starts lumbering towards the gas station. You know where this is going, right, Sportster?

After about fifteen minutes of me freaking out, my phone rings. It's the tow company saying that it'll be fifteen minutes. They had a couple of cancellations.


I try starting you up again just for shits and giggles, dear Sportster. Nope, not gonna happen.

The tow truck pulls into the gas station just as the Creepy Weird Dude who was lurking by the bus stop walks by me and starts to talk to me. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. The driver comes over and that is enough to shoo away the Creepy Weird Dude. Whew!

We talk about what went wrong with you, Sportster. And then you made me look like a total asshole by STARTING UP JUST FUCKING FINE when I turn on the ignition.


The driver asks if I still want a tow. The look on my face must've been priceless, for he immediately says, Ah, you don't want to get stuck again before you get home. Alright, let's get going. And off he goes to prep the tow truck bed to take your miserable metal self back to the Westside.

Since the Harley dealer doesn't have a drop off spot for broken bikes after hours, I bring you back to home. You got a smooth ride, the tow truck driver was very nice and very conscientious. By this time, it's late enough where traffic going to the Westside isn't bad at all, though the driver will be in Driving Hell getting back to the Valley after you're dropped off.

There's something about you, Sportster, that keeps AAA drivers from charging me the extra mileage when you're towed beyond ten miles. And I guess I'm a sucker for you, too, as I'm going to limp you to the Harley dealer on Saturday and see if they can track down what the hell is wrong with you. Because I DO NOT want to have any more towing adventures, Sportster. DO YOU HEAR ME?! You must be ridden, not towed!

C'mon, you don't want to be stuck in the garage any more than I want to leave you in there, unridden and neglected. Summer's comin' and you gotta get out there and enjoy it!



Janet said...

Ah yes, all for the love of the wind in your face and the bugs in your teeth! Makes me miss my bike, sniff sniff.

Hope it's an easy fix.

Bonnie D.Stroir said...

Dear Tara, I love you. Love, Bonnie

RedDiabla said...

I hope it's an easy fix, too. The problem is I don't know where to start troubleshooting. Spark plug wire? Coil? Gas line? Ignition? Bueller?

The bike is on but nobody's home. I don't want to waste another tow trip by thinking it gets fixed, then finding myself stranded again.

PhilB said...

Fuel, compression, spark. These are the basics.

If it appears to be heat related, check for either vapor lock (removing the fuel cap will let out a loud hiss, then it'll fire up), or try to cool down the ignition (assuming all-in-the-nosecone module, remove the cover). I've seen several of those Crane Hi-4s crap out (Yo-Adrian's left me stranded in the middle of Ontario when I was trying to deliver his bike to him).

Give me a call if you want some help, easier to talk in person.


RedDiabla said...

Phil: I tried the gas cap trick, no go. I took the bike to Fred Reed's and of course the problem wouldn't duplicate itself. He suspects one of the modules(I forget the name of it but it costs over $200 to replace so we want to make sure that's the problem before replacing it), but again, even with a heat gun put on it, it didn't die like it did on me in the wild. Feh!